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Alien Blast

Score: 40%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Strategy First
Developer: Kiddies Inc
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: Arcade

Graphics & Sound:

Alien Blast doesn't quite have the look of a cutting edge PC video game. Nor does it replicate the kinds of graphics in the arcade as presented by games like Beach Head 2002. The varying alien worlds it portrays don't look all that bad, but they certainly don't look all that alien. The terrain is mostly flat with either a yellow or gray tint to it, which doesn't tax the video card that much, and there are usually scant land masses in the background. Yet the alien hordes are interesting to say the least. At times it seems like you're being attacked by dinosaurs, and at others the flying alien masses look like something out of Starcraft. They generally stay like this throughout the game, with varying designs of pixelated aliens coming at you from all directions.

The sound, on the other hand, could use some help. Most of the ambient sound will be your machine gun blaring with the occasional splat of an alien. Occasionally you'll hear alien gibberish as the hordes descend upon you, or a roaring flyby of some airborne adversary. There is little to no music, and what tracks the game provides you with you'll forget five minutes after hearing it.


Gameplay:

Alien Blast is basically Beachhead 2002 with a dash of aliens and a twist of sci-fi. For those of you who don't know anything about Beachhead 2002 (don't worry, you're not missing anything), its entire premise is comprised of gunning down enemies from a stationary turret. That's what Alien Blast is like, except this time you're blowing up aliens instead of paratroopers.

Of the 8 weapons you can use, only a few are really worth anything. The machine gun you have initially has unlimited ammo, and the rest have to be obtained and armed with power-ups. These power-ups are dropped from an allied ship floating around in the sky, and all you have to do is shoot them to reap the benefits from within.

Of the 45 levels in the game, you'll be lucky to get through more than three. Each level is the same thing over and over again; kill all the aliens thrown at you, whether from the ground or air, and don't die. Every few levels, a new type of alien will be added to attack you, but after a couple of missions the differences between the new aliens and the ones you've been staring at are hard to distinguish. Luckily, you can easily jump to any level by hitting F9 and then typing 'load level xx', and hey presto you're there.


Difficulty:

Alien Blast is as difficult as it is boring. You'll have the same problems staying in the game on both grounds. The later levels are almost impossible, but you'll probably delete the game before you even get there. If you're bold enough to take on the alien hordes though, you'll be aided by the confusing radar at the bottom of your screen. Trying to figure out where you're getting hit from is a task in and of itself, and when you finally do swivel your turret around to the place, your screen will be completely filled with the pixilated faces of angry little ETs. It's hard, but not in a fun way.

Game Mechanics:

The basics of Alien Blast's mechanics are simple; all you do is rotate around in 360 degrees and occasionally look up a little bit. Of course, you have to do this while fending off unrelenting alien masses that are hell bent on your destruction. Switching between weapons is as simple as a button press, but once you're out of ammo, it's back to the trusty machine gun to get things done.

Alien Blast also has a Multiplayer mode for up to four people to play simultaneously, but you'll be hard pressed to find anyone who would want to spend time playing this game, much less own a copy of it. Despite all its attempts, Alien Blast ultimately fails. There isn't a single redeeming quality about this game. It's too hard to be fun, and even if it wasn't hard, the gameplay quickly grates the nerves. There is absolutely nothing to make you want to play this game for more than a couple of minutes. If you absolutely must have this game, at least wait for it to hit the bargain bins.


-Snow Chainz, GameVortex Communications
AKA Andrew Horwitz

Minimum System Requirements:



Windows 98/ME/2000/XP, 500 MHz Processor, 28 MB RAM, 32 MB Direct 3D Compatible Video Card, 110 MB Free Hard Disk Space
 

Test System:



Windows XP, 1.4GHz AMD Athlon, GeForce FX 5200 128MB video card, 40 gig hard drive, 56x CD-ROM, 256MB DDR Ram, Sound Blaster Live! sound card, T1 Internet connection

Windows Airline Tycoon Evolution Windows Armed and Dangerous

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated